What is Outside Sales: A Complete Guide

When it comes to sales, there are outside sales and inside sales. Now you must be wondering how sales can be inside or outside! The truth is, the difference has been created quite recently with the advent of sales technologies and web conferencing solutions.

Today, we will explore – what is outside sales? We will also discuss effective sales strategies to reduce the sales cycle and make the most of face-to-face interactions.

what is outside sales
What does outside sales mean?

Outside sales is the sales process that takes place outside the office premises. In outside sales, sales professionals meet prospective customers, set up appointments, show product demos, and convert leads into sales.

How does outside sales differ from inside sales?

Inside sales refers to the sales that take place remotely. A rep may use various tools like emails, calls, chat to encourage conversions. Often, cold-calling is a part of the inside sales job. However, it is not limited to it.

Read in detail: inside sales vs. outside sales.

In general, outside sales are more expensive and time-taking as they require sales professionals to travel to meet clients. But they yield better results. Companies that rely on outside sales beat companies using inside sales at a close rate by 30.2%. The deals also turn out to be around 130% larger.

Most companies these days use both outside and inside sales to earn more revenue. It’s also a more effective way to get more clients and ensure that you have to worry less about your competitors leveraging ahead.

how to improve field sales

A Typical Day in an Outside Sales Rep’s Life

Reaching out to customers isn’t often easy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, outside sales reps are regularly away from the office. You will hardly find them sitting in the office other than to make reports or input customer data.

An outside sales representative may or may not get a lead from the marketing team. That means he has to knock on doors, meet managers, and try to dig up potential leads during their workday. In fact, 42% of sales reps consider prospecting to be one of the biggest challenges.

Field sales reps often spend a big part of their day driving around from one location to another. Modern sales tools or outside sales management software provide features like route mapping to optimize a rep’s day and bring down the traveling costs.

A field sales rep also travels to other cities, states, or countries to find business. He/She meets people face-to-face to qualify leads, discover pain points, offer a solution, and push for sales. The company generally bears the lodging and other expenses too.

The schedule of these sales reps is flexible. They have the autonomy to make decisions based on situations in the field. They carry out a complex sales process (longer sales cycle) and generally earn more than inside sales reps.

Elements of Outside Sales Process

So, how does it work? Here is how you can get more leads on your outside sales job.

Lead Discovery

We already discussed how sales reps struggle with lead prospecting. So the first step of the outside sales process is finding the right people you can talk to or how to prospect outside sales?

Companies use various methods to discover leads, such as by searching for professional platforms like LinkedIn.

A field sales rep may also directly approach the reception to see if anyone is available. The outside sales process takes more time than discovering leads for inside sales, where you have tools to track and identify potential customers.

Mapping Territory

It’s not practical to drive around arbitrarily without any plan to visit customers randomly. An outside sales rep will map his sales territory and chalk out the best routes – just like a logistics company. It helps the company and sales reps to optimize their routes cutting both travel time and fuel cost.

Customer location mapping is also necessary if you want to improve productivity. Knowing where your customers are located, the distances between them, and other details is crucial for a seamless outside sales process.

Modern sales tools enable companies to use GPS-enabled maps or Field Sales App for territory and customer mapping (sales rep-field sales mapping). The sales rep can have a detailed understanding of the region he is handling without having to go through pages of spreadsheets.

Setting Up Appointments

If you need to meet your prospects face-to-face, you will need to set up appointments. It can be a lengthy process involving phone calls or visiting prospective companies in person. Many reps use a sales script to speak naturally and convey what they want to say. Outside sales automation tools such as mobile CRM can help schedule appointments, send follow-up reminder notifications to reps, and more. 

Digging Up Pain Points

The goal of a product or service is to solve the pain points of the customer. So if you don’t know the pain points of customers, how will you solve them?

When the sales reps first meet a prospect, they try to determine the pain points. Then they offer the solution in the form of your product or service. Expert sales reps know how to align their solutions with customer pain points and push for sales.

Presentation or Demo

You may need to provide a presentation or demo of your product to convince your prospect. The presentation should address all queries and pain points of the potential customer for the most impact. You can use various resources like case studies, videos in addition to your demo to encourage conversion.

Reporting

Since reps are mostly on-field, outside sales reporting can become a tedious job. One, because they are on the go, always. And two, because of internet connectivity, they may miss out on logging in/out, updating meeting notes, etc.

A simple solution is to equip them with an outside sales app that can remind them to check in/check out automatically, offline, access, log notes after the meeting schedule, automatically generate reports based on tasks assigned, tasks completed, and more. 

Outside sales tips to win big!

Before we wrap up, here are some handy tips to make your sales more effective.

  1. Set an achievable target. Define goals. Having an idea of how many new customers you’ll need in what time frame will help you devise strategies to close more sales. 
  2. Know your USP. Understand your product, how it differs from the competition and its benefits to the customer. 
  3. Understand customer’s needs, and then explain how your product can help. Also, ask open-ended questions to understand their pain-points. 
  4. Handle rejections gracefully. Rejections are the parts and parcels of sales life. No matter how good your pitch is, sometimes, the customer is not willing to buy only. Keep your gates open so that customers can come back to you if they still need the product/service. 
  5. Use digital tools that can make you more productive. Gone are the days when people used to make notes, update excel sheets, and waste a lot of their time doing unproductive tasks. Use tools such as a mobile CRM app that can help you with customer data, schedule appointments for you, and reduce your manual work to a great extent. 

Wrapping Up

Most companies now use a mix of outside and inside sales strategies. The inside sales team discovers leads and hands them over to field reps to follow up. You should consider your product and buyer persona to determine if you need to focus on either or both of these sales strategies. Most people today are used to buying remotely without meeting a sales rep. On the other hand, doctors, professors, or B2B clients are used to meeting on-field sales reps. You should find out and use the most preferred way to get in touch with your customers for increased sales.

If you are looking for the best apps for outside sales reps, I would suggest trying LeadSquared Mobile CRM

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